Tuesday, August 9, 2016

ECOT Parents Sue State. Will ODE Stand up for Parents of non-ECOT kids?

We're seeing the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow fight for its life. Their latest gambit is using parents, who have joined the school's lawsuit to keep the Ohio Department of Education from determining whether the $100 million per year the state sends to ECOT is justified.

Don't think for a second that ECOT's fighting for parents of its kids. ECOT is fighting to keep the $100 million, mile-long gravy train rolling. All ODE wants to do is inspect that train's box cars to see if they're empty.

But this is a typical poor performing charter school/school choice Ohio tactic: run out the two or three parents who love the school and make it seem like closing the school is an affront to American decency, apple pie, Old Glory, or something equally offensive. However, remember, not even 4 in 10 students graduate the nation's largest for-profit school on time and nearly 9 in 10 students stay in ECOT less than 2 years.

So the data shows pretty clearly that the vast majority of ECOT parents do not love ECOT.

But in all these stories about ECOT, media never take the next step: What has ECOT's repeated failure meant for kids and parents of children who are not in ECOT?

For example, in the 2014-2015 school year, ECOT removed 90 students and $672,928 from Westerville -- John Kasich's hometown. Every dollar sent to ECOT went to a far worse performing school option. Yet that $7,402 per pupil that the state sent from Westerville to ECOT meant that for every kid that went to ECOT, Westerville parents had to fork over nearly $5,000 in property taxes. That's because they had to make up the difference between ECOT's $7,402 and the $2,526 per pupil the state would have sent to Westerville if the students had stayed in that district.

So just to make up for the ECOT payments to those 90 kids, the remaining 14,685 kids in Westerville lost $30 each in state funding, which their parents had to make up for with $464,455 in property taxes. The loss of just 90 of Westerville's 14,775 kids to ECOT caused reduced opportunities for every kid in Westerville, and added to the local property tax burden of every land owning parent.

To add insult to injury, because the performance difference between ECOT and Westerville is so vast, this ECOT funding actually punishes a far higher performing district. All so a far worse performing charter can make enough money to pay their teachers, give every kid a $2,000 laptop every year and still clear more than 45% profit.

Remember, ECOT doesn't have buildings, buses, lunch ladies, custodians, and a whole host of other services brick and mortar schools have.

This is why it is so important for ODE to stick to its guns and figure out if any kids are receiving the instruction they deserve at ECOT, or whether our tax dollars are just paying for ECOT founder William Lager's lavish lifestyle (not to mention his political largess). Remember, ECOT makes enough money from the state that it could withstand as much as an 85% cut in funding and still pay 602 of its 607 teachers' salaries.

It is up to ODE to fight for the millions of families whose children have seen their educational opportunities significantly reduced because of ECOT's taxpayer-funded boondoggle. It is these parents whose stories go untold amid the bombast of ECOT's well-paid lobbyists and lawyers. These parents and children are hurt indirectly by ECOT almost as much as the thousands whom ECOT directly fails every year.


  1. You say that ECOT buys students $2000 laptop. Where did you get that information? ECOT students do not get laptops. They get refurbished desk tops. If you are interested in how much that equipment costs, I can get that information for you, but I can guarantee that it does not approach even $1000 per student. Our curriculum and all required texts are loaded on to those computers, so there is no need for hard copy texts, an expense that brick and mortar schools have that equals or is more per student than the computers cost. You also say that taxpayers must make up for the money that follows students who move from their home school to ECOT. Do the schools still charge the taxpayer for students that they no longer educate? That seems rather questionable. You say that 2-3 parents of ECOT students support us and the other 15000 do not? Clearly, you do not know the parents of these students. You hint at but then bend the truth behind our graduation rate. You say that ECOT students do not graduate on time and that they stay for no more than two years. That is because the majority of our students come to ECOT during high school after they have experienced the failures of the schools from which they came. They are often so many credits behind when they get there that they cannot earn enough make up credits to graduate "on time" and then end up with a diploma at age 19 or 20. ECOT does not get credit for those who are late to graduate even though they did not cause the situation that led them to graduate late. As a lawyer, you should examine the truth from both sides before making invalid statements.

  2. They don't give $2000 laptops. My point is they could and still clear 45%.

    1. No, you clearly said that they did buy 2000 laptops and that was a lie. It follows that if you lie or do not know the facts on this, then you are clearly incompetent to make any accusations against ECOT

  3. Look, I was saying they could afford that and clear a ton. It was just by way of demonstration. This is a demonstration I have used for going on 5 years. It's a way to conservatively estimate the school's profits. I never said that's what they do. Never have. i can't help it if you wish to read more into it than that. I pray you find peace.

  4. Yeah...clearly uninformed, incorrect information given in this blog.

  5. It's not real difficult to read something into your words when your words said exactly what I objected to. I am still trying to figure out how schools lose all of that money when it follows them to a charter school. The kid who moves to the charter school is not their responsibility any longer, so the money that was given for his education is no longer needed. It is no different from kids who move to another district or take advantage of open enrollment at a neighboring district. He then no longer uses those teachers' services, their lunch ladies, their custodian, their facilities, so it would be crazy to think that they should still get the money for services they no longer perform. No one FORCED them to go. They made a CHOICE. The money follows them; it did not disappear, so how have taxpayers been robbed? In reality, the brick and mortar schools could do without much of the money they now get. Ohio's school funding disaster was found unconstitutional years ago but was never changed. If you want to protest against funding disasters,why not take a look at that?

  6. Also consider that ECOT does NOT collect property tax either. That would be in unconstitutional to collect property tax when we are in EVERY neighborhood in Ohio. The students do not get laptops and you did not for example.....you stated as a fact in your writing. Maybe Westerville should stop complaining about losing money and be more worried why these students are leaving your school.

  7. Quoting you directly "So the data shows pretty clearly that the vast majority of ECOT parents do not love ECOT." What is your source for this data?

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